General terms and conditions

These general terms and conditions apply to all assignments accepted by law firm MDP Advocaten BV (hereinafter referred to as MDP) and to the services provided to the client by its lawyers, employees or personnel. Any amendment to these general terms and conditions requires a written agreement between MDP and the client. They apply to the exclusion of any other terms and conditions. The granting of an assignment to MDP implies the acceptance of these general terms for the assignment in question, as well as for all other assignments to be granted to MDP in the future, regardless of the lawyer handling the file or case.

1. Fees and invoicing

We charge our fees and other costs as agreed at the start of the assignment. However, MDP reserves the right to adjust its hourly rates or the calculation of fees in the future, of which the client will be informed in an appropriate manner.

All our invoices are immediately payable in cash. In the event of non-payment within thirty days of the invoice date, interest is due by operation of law and without notice of default being required, the rate of which shall be established in accordance with the Act on late payments in commercial transactions. If payment is not made on time, a fixed compensation of 10% on the outstanding invoice amount is also due.

The legally owed VAT will be charged on top of the applicable fees (except when not applicable by law, e.g. court fees, etc.).

2. Complaints

Any complaints regarding an invoice must be made in writing within 14 days of the invoice being sent.

3. Third party payments

MDP will transfer all amounts it receives on behalf of the client to its client within the shortest possible time.

MDP may deduct from the amounts it receives on behalf of the client sums to cover outstanding advances or statements of expenses and fees. The client will be informed of this in writing.

4. Liability

With regard to the client, MDP is the sole contracting party for all services provided by its lawyers, employees or personnel. Only MDP shall have an obligation towards the client for these services and only MDP shall have any liability with regard to the services provided by its lawyers, employees or personnel. The client shall, where applicable, not bring any action against any person other than MDP in connection with these services.

The services provided by MDP and its lawyers will be considered as an obligation of means.

MDP has insured its professional liability and that of its employees for a total amount of € 17,000,000. On request, the policy conditions can be communicated and more information is also available on our website and in this office documentation.

The client considers this insurance to be adequate and accepts that the compensation for the damage he suffers as a result of a professional error by MDP or one of its lawyers is limited to the amounts covered by the professional liability insurance. If the professional liability insurer does not cover the damage, the compensation on the basis of the professional misconduct of the law firm and/or the lawyer in charge will be limited in principal, costs and interest to the amount of the fees paid.

The liability of MDP, as limited, excludes any personal liability of its lawyers (or their possible individual company), employees or personnel.

In any case, a liability claim against MDP will not be enforceable if MDP is not notified of this claim in writing within a period of one year after discovery of the event or circumstance that could give rise to such a liability claim.

5. Services provided by third parties

MDP may appeal to third parties (e.g. bailiff, experts, accountant, notary, etc.) for the performance of its services. As far as possible, MDP will discuss this with the client in advance and choose those third parties from whom it can reasonably expect a qualitative service. However, MDP offers no guarantee whatsoever regarding the performance by those third parties of the tasks entrusted to them.

The client also accepts that these third parties carry out their assignment on an independent basis and that the client cannot therefore hold MDP liable for any defective or faulty execution of the services by these third parties. When appeal is made to such third parties, the client authorises MDP, on behalf of the client, to accept any limitation of liability provided by the third party.

6. About our services and work products

MDP is subject to professional secrecy. This applies to all information and documentation provided to us by the client.

On the other hand, any MDP work product, e.g. legal advice, research, contracts, conclusions, etc., is drafted or delivered exclusively for the client’s benefit (and where relevant protected by intellectual property rights) and may not be copied, transmitted, or disclosed in whole or in part to third parties or publicly (except as agreed with the client) without the prior consent of MDP, except where such communication is required by law or by a competent authority or where it arises from (and is limited to) the very purpose of the work product (e.g. exchange of a contract between the contracting parties).

To the extent permitted under the rules of deontology, conflict of interest rules and in strict compliance with the rules of professional secrecy, MDP may accept assignments for other clients whose activities could be in competition with those of the client. MDP may also represent other clients (whose interests could conflict with those of existing clients) in cases where the existing client does not consult MDP on a regular basis.

7. Termination of the Agreement

The client can terminate the agreement with MDP at any time by notifying MDP in writing, without any compensation being due. In the event of termination, all services delivered up to that moment must be compensated. MDP shall return the documents of the file to the client upon first request and/or provide them to the successor.

The firm may terminate the agreement at any time by notifying the client in writing. In doing so, the firm will take into account the possibility for the client to obtain the necessary assistance from another lawyer in good time.

8. Retaining of documents

MDP retains all relevant documents relating to the file handled, except those previously returned to the client, for the legal period following closure of the file. Afterwards, MDP will destroy the documents, unless explicitly agreed otherwise.

9. Anti-money laundering procedures

As a law firm, MDP must comply with all legislation on the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism. We have put in place internal procedures to identify our clients and to assess individual cases for possible risks. To enable us to comply with our legal obligations in this respect, you must provide us with all relevant information fully and accurately.

10. General conditions

To the extent that one of the provisions of these general terms is deemed to be void or unenforceable, the remaining provisions will retain their validity and enforceability. The void and/or unenforceable provision will be replaced by a valid provision that comes as close as possible to the original intention of the parties.

Belgian law is always exclusively applicable to our agreement. In the event of a dispute, only the courts of Ghent, Ghent Division, have jurisdiction.

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